Mumbai-based online pharmacy startup PharmEasy may land USD 100 million checks each from South African tech and media giant Naspers and American investment firm TPG Capital as it looks to fill its war chest and step up its game against the new entrants in the segment.
The proposed deal values the six-year-old company at a pre-money valuation of USD 1.2 billion, a report by local media Economic Times said.
Last November, PharmEasy reportedly raised USD 220 million in a round led by Temasek, with participation from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the second-largest Canadian pension fund, LGT, the private banking and asset management group controlled by the Princely family of Liechtenstein, and South Korea’s KB Financial Group. That deal valued the company at USD 700 million.
In August, PharmEasy joined hands with smaller rival Medlife for a merger to safeguard their market share against the bigwigs eyeing the digital pharmacy sector. The merger, which reportedly pegged the valuation of the combined entity at USD 1.2 billion, has been approved by the Competition Commission of India. This marks the first big consolidation in the sector.
With this strategic move, the two companies formed an alliance against deep-pocketed companies including Reliance, which acquired five-year-old Netmeds in August, and e-tail behemoths Amazon and Flipkart that have entered this space hoping to get a larger pie of the rapidly growing segment.
While Amazon started Amazon Pharmacy a few days before PharmEasy announced the merger with Medlife, Flipkart had been prepping up for the debut that it finally made in September by forming a partnership with a Gurugram-based e-medicine delivery startup 1mg.
The online pharmaceutical segment in India has been seeing a steep rise in demand since the country went into lockdown in March to control the spread of COVID-19. According to a recent report by RedSeer Consulting, the online health sector is expected to grow to USD 2 billion by March 2021.
The e-health sector, according to the report, is at a “tipping point and is projected to grow by 13x, to become a USD 16 billion opportunity by FY 25.”